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Yesterday was a productive day - kinda long

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  • Yesterday was a productive day - kinda long

    Metalworking content: Yesterday morning I was making a new idler shaft for a little 12v tug we use on my friends airplane, never liked the original even though it lasted for 10+ years. Used a piece of 4140 round stock, lots of chips, but I, no “weâ€‌, finally got it done.

    As I was working the neighbor kid, about 14, came into the garage, didn’t hear him, he just suddenly appeared. “What ya makin’â€‌? He scared the fire out of me – it’s 7:30 in the morning, I wasn’t expecting anyone. After a sip of coffee to settle the nerves I explained what I was into, making a idler shaft. He has always been a good kid, lost his father about 5 years ago – cancer, mother has a good job, good people. I always see this kid doing something, not the “usualâ€‌ 14 year old stuff, outside stuff. He has built kites and flown them, balsa wood gliders, bicycle modifications, all kinds of stuff. I help him where I can, he mows my lawn, I usually give him $25, maybe more, it depends on how much I have in my pocket. Anyway, he asks about the lathe, how it works, what each lever does. I figure the best teacher is practical experience so I let him have a go at it. A 30 minute job is now 2 hours, but I haven’t noticed, or care.

    When our shaft is done I tell him it’s time to test fit and ask if he’d like to go along. A quick check with Mom and we are on our way. When we get to my friends hangar I slid the door open, his eyes about popped. My friend’s 182, old, somewhat faded, needing new paint, some interior would be nice, maybe a new do-wacky for the panel is sitting there rather humble. I dragged the tug out from the pile and go to putting the new shaft in, this kid is right in there with me, wait, I’m having fun with a 14 year old kid (no children of my own - I’m not supposed to like kids so I say). After 30 minutes of wrenching it’s time to test, so we drag the 182 out with the tug, perfect. Well, almost perfect, the battery dies. Plug in the charger and see what happens.

    While the charger was running we looked at the plane and talked about it. We climbed inside, I discussed the instruments and radios – this kid knew more than I did –really. So I mentioned maybe we should take her up for a hop around the patch. His eyes were bigger than the eyes on that lady that faked her abduction a few weeks ago. I grabbed the right seat, the kid grabbed the left seat. Then the kid realized all of the “important stuffâ€‌ was on his side, you know, the key, all of the instruments. I had the glove box and in there is the manual for the plane, but that is important too (and required). He asked if I knew how to fly, I told him I’d been up with my friend a few times, it didn’t look that hard to fly. Okay, before anyone goes nuts, I have my private ticket, IFR rating (not current), a current medical, quite few hours in both seats of a 182, I think I’m legal and I know I am VERY safe. Anyway, I tell the kid it’s okay, I’ve done it before. Before I forget, while we were talking about the plane I did do a thorough preflight, the kid just didn’t realize it. We lit the fire and I had him taxi into position, did the run up, and pushed the throttle to the panel. With his hands on the controls – mine at the ready, we were rolling. Just after she broke ground and bought about 100 feet of altitude I adjusted for 25 squared and off we went. This kid was good, smooth control movements, coordinated turns, I was starting to dislike him, he flies better than I do, not that I am that good. We found the neighborhood, circled it a few times, he could see his house and thought that was pretty neat. Then we just cloud chased – for over 2 hours, I was having my first plane ride all over again, I didn’t want it to end.

    When we went back to the airport he flew the pattern and I talked him into short final. An aside note, a 182 can be a handful to land if you have never done it before, very nose heavy. When the wheels slid across the grass I had to look to see if we were on the ground or not. My arrivals are usually a series of “microeventsâ€‌, this landing was picture perfect. Now I know I really don’t like this kid. We taxied to the hangar, shut down, and climbed out. I hooked the tug to the nosewheel, hit the switch, the plane moved so we guided it into the hangar for another day. On the way home we talked about flying, the kid said he had always wanted to fly in a small plane, never knew that I knew how to fly (I never mention it as it is something I do just for myself). He did once ask about the prop I have on he garage wall, a 3 blade I built for a friends Experimental – another story.

    When we got home I asked him how did he like flying, he didn’t say a word, no, the **** hugged me – he hugged me. I didn’t take him flying to get hugged, I just wanted to go up and he happened to be there. The kid hugged me. Anyway, I guess it was a productive day after all.

    Sorry for being so long winded


  • #2
    Someone get me a tissue,Really.

    That was a great story.


    • #3
      Outstanding, You have done more for that boy than you'll ever know, keep him working with you.
      Some day when you are old and gray and can't do much anymore he'll return the favor.
      Non, je ne regrette rien.


      • #4
        Coordinated turns? The landing? Sounds like you got a natural there. Doesn't happen very often. Take him up again and see if he can repeat it. If he can, you will know for sure.

        His name isn't Luke is it?




        • #5

          Good story! Good deed! And, a very good day!


          • #6
            Now--------the story would be more complete, had you two taxied to the hangar, shut down a big radial, and just sat there for a few minutes listening to the tinkles and crackles of the cooling engine. Asking for a two holer would be too much.

            The experiences of befriending a fatherless kid will stay with you, forever.



            • #7

              Fantastic & Wonderful

              Not many naturals around this world.

              Also not enough people that will take the time for a kid.

              Please spend more time with that kid, he needs it.

              GUNS Don't kill people
              Drivers using cell phones do.


              • #8
                Thanks Axel.


                • #9
                  That is fantastic. The inspiration you provided that boy will be around a lot longer than you will, what a gift.

                  James Kilroy
                  James Kilroy


                  • #10
                    I think you went from neighbor to hero!
                    You can bet he will remember that day for the rest of his life.
                    Gotta go get a tissue, something got in my eye


                    • #11
                      You're a good man, Axel.

                      [This message has been edited by Arcane (edited 05-22-2005).]


                      • #12
                        that story made my day.
                        heck, it made my week.

                        andy b.
                        The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining


                        • #13
                          Fencepost I wished that you had been around when I was a kid. I would probably have been too dumb to take advantage.

                          Keep working with the kid, even though you don't like him , maybe he will stay out of trouble and grow into a kind person like his mentor.
                          Don\'t ask me to do a dam thing, I\'m retired.


                          • #14
                            Good deal,maybe he has been saved from being ordinary.
                            I just need one more tool,just one!


                            • #15
                              A quick appendum.

                              First and foremost I appreciate all the comments, they really mean a lot to me. I have read "feel good" stories like this before, but I have never experienced one first hand, at least not until Saturday.

                              Now, actually I got the best of the deal. Sure the kid got to go flying, but yesterday Mom brought me a cake! Not just a cake, but one of those round chocolate cakes with pudding in the middle and dark chocolate slathered all over the top. Not that I like chocolate or anything (I think I need a new belt now).

                              When she stopped by to drop the cake off we talked for maybe an hour. Turns out the kid has always been interested in aviation. She was going to take him to the airport for a plane ride on his 15th birthday (in a couple of weeks). I have a friend who is an instructor, heck he taught me to fly so maybe he knows wha he's doing. I think for his 15th birthday he will receive some flying lessons. My friend teaches because he likes to, he owes me (yeah, I owe him too). We'll see.

                              Again, thanks.